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What happens if you’re not insured and you have a car accident?
Being involved in a car accident can be traumatic – your day changes drastically in what’s usually a split moment. Your car, or someone else’s, could be damaged, and there might even be injuries. It’s overwhelming enough, but what happens if you don’t have insurance?
Learn more about your rights and what you need to do if you find yourself in a situation like this.
Determine your level of insurance
First things first, you will likely have some level of insurance. That’s because, at a minimum, you’re legally required to have Compulsory Third party Insurance (CTP). In most states it’s included in your car registration, however if you live in New South Wales, you’ll need to purchase it separately.
CTP covers your liability, including the liability of other drivers in your vehicle, for injuries caused to others in a motor vehicle accident.
When you’re not at fault
Generally, the person who’s at fault for causing the accident will be responsible for paying any costs. This usually includes any repairs required for your vehicle or the replacement of damaged property, in addition to hiring a rental car for your use while yours is at the mechanic.
What this means in practice is that you’ll need to send the driver at fault a letter from a registered mechanic, which itemises the estimated cost of repair. In the event that they have insurance, they’ll supply this letter to their insurer. It’s likely that at this point you’ll be working with their insurance company towards any compensation.
These situations can be tricky. If you need a hand, you may want to think about seeking out legal advice. There are resources available for you in this situation so it can be useful to reach out to an organisation like Legal Aid.
When you’re at fault
On the other hand, if you’re the driver at fault you may be required to pay any costs for damage sustained to the other person’s vehicle or property, which can also include covering towing fees or a hire car. If this is the case, you’ll usually receive a letter of demand or a court form from them. Bear in mind that you can ask them to supply quotes, as evidence of the costs they’re requesting you pay, and to put forward a counter claim.
If you’re unsure about your rights, and whether you need to pay the full amount, it could be a good idea to seek out legal advice.
AAMI Car Insurance, Motorcycle Insurance, NSW and ACT CTP Insurance, and Caravan Insurance are issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 (AAI) trading as AAMI. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision about this insurance. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.